WA Legal Roundup: Division I
Timothy Martin was convicted of three counts of kidnapping and one count of robbery for forcing himself into a minivan driven by Jessica Sobania. Ms. Sobania was able to escape the minivan, but Mr. Martine allegedly stole the van with Ms. Sobania’s three children still inside it. (The children were later found unharmed.)
Mr. Martin testified as the last witness in the case. On cross examination, the prosecutor elicited testimony about the fact that Mr. Martin had heard all of the testimony in the trial up to that point. The implication was that he was able to make his testimony fit his defense after having heard what the evidence was.
Mr. Martin alleged that the prosecutor’s conduct was misconduct in that it infringed upon his right “to appear and defend in person, . . . to testify in his own behalf, [and] to meet the witnesses against him face to face” under article I, section 22 of the Washington Constitution. Mr. Martin urged the Court of Appeals to do a Gunwall analysis (where the court analyzes whether similar provisions in the state and federal constitutions provide different rights) and determine that article I, section 22 of the state constitution provided broader protection than the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The United States Supreme Court had already decided in Portuondo v. Agard, 529 U.S. 61 (2000), that eliciting testimony from a testimony from a criminal defendant regarding their ability to tailor their testimony to the evidence was not improper under the Sixth Amendment.
The Court of Appeals in this case determined that a Gunwall analysis was not appropriate, that the analysis done by the U.S. Supreme Court in Protuondo was appropriate and affirmed the conviction.